Polls internal affair of Pakistan as sovereign country, says FO

Pouring money into held Kashmir can’t change its status | Israel’s cruelty in Palestine condemned

Says observers declared elections fair 

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan yesterday said that general elections were an inter­nal affair of Pakistan as a sover­eign and democratic country.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch expressed Pakistan’s firm stance on its electoral pro­cess, emphasizing that it is an internal affair governed by sov­ereignty and a dedication to ful­filling constitutional obligations. She particularly highlighted the unprecedented participation of millions of voters, including a substantial turnout of women and young individuals. Baloch underscored Pakistan’s open­ness to international scrutiny, welcoming foreign observers, notably a delegation from the Commonwealth, as evidence of the nation’s commitment to transparent elections.

Earlier, the United States said Washington joins “credible in­ternational and local election observers in their assessment that these elections included undue restrictions on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. We are con­cerned about allegations of interference in the electoral process. Claims of interference or fraud should be fully investi­gated.” The United Kingdom also voiced “serious concerns raised about the fairness and lack of in­clusivity of the elections”.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said “not all parties” were able to formally contest the election and that “legal pro­cesses” were used to prevent some political leaders from par­ticipating. The European Union said it regretted “the lack of a level playing field due to the in­ability of some political actors to contest the elections, restrictions to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression both online and of­fline, restrictions of access to the internet, as well as allegations of severe interference in the elec­toral process, including arrests of political activists.” Mumtaz Zahra Baloch asserted Pakistan’s independence in decision-mak­ing, affirming that the country’s actions concerning freedoms and democracy, were rooted in its constitutional duties and are not swayed by external counsel. She cited the positive findings of the Commonwealth observer group’s interim report, which praised the transparency and inclusivity of the electoral pro­cess. Regarding India’s financial allocation for Jammu and Kash­mir, she rejected the notion that monetary investments could absolve the occupying power of its responsibilities or legitimize its unlawful occupation, reiterat­ing Pakistan’s steadfast support for the self-determination of the Kashmiri people, as endorsed by UN Security Council resolutions.

She acknowledged the his­torical complexities in Pak­istan-India relations but ex­pressed Pakistan’s consistent pursuit of peaceful coexis­tence, lamenting India’s hos­tile approach, which hampers prospects for normalization. She appreciated the Organiza­tion of Islamic Cooperation’s condemnation of Israeli ag­gression against Gaza, urging urgent UN Security Council intervention to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and end the siege on Gaza. Baloch high­lighted Pakistan’s diplomatic outreach efforts, exemplified by the formal establishment of ties with the Commonwealth of Dominica, signalling Paki­stan’s commitment to expand­ing its global partnerships. She condemned India’s ongoing crackdown on dissent in In­dian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, calling for the re­lease of political prisoners and advocating for a just resolu­tion of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, reaffirm­ing Pakistan’s unwavering sup­port for the Kashmiri people.

To a question if Pakistan will accept Ambassador of the Tali­ban government after China’s green signal to the Taliban Am­bassador in their country, the spokesperson said: “First of all, this decision by China is accord­ing to their own legal systems and their own internal consid­erations. Pakistan will take any decisions in this respect accord­ing to its own laws and national priorities. And as I said, any future direction in this respect will be set by the new elected government.” She said there was “no change in our position with respect to our relations with Afghanistan, and our policy re­mains consistent. Pakistan will continue to pursue friendly ties with Afghanistan while continu­ing to raise the concerns that we have on some important issues especially the question of ter­rorism and security.” She added: “Any future direction on Paki­stan’s policy towards Afghani­stan will come from the elected government when it takes office.”

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